What is a Certified Specialist?

Today's travelers have higher expectations of their travel agents. In response, agents are growing more specialized.

A Sandals Certified Sandals Specialist (CSS) specializes in selling Sandals. These agents and their agencies receive recognition not only from Sandals as a loyal partner, but are also recognized by the industry and the consumers as Sandals experts. Certified Sandals Specialists are required to go through an extensive 12 hour educational program containing the most updated information about our resorts.

After training, each are required to take a comprehensive test before they are awarded a "Certified Sandals Specialist" designation. In addition, as Sandals expands its amenities, such as our dive program and spa program, these agents are required to keep up to date with their education and take classes as they become available; much like having a "minor" in college. A "CSS" agent will take these additional classes to become certified as a "Spa" and "Dive" agent as well.

Hello, my name is Melodie, and besides being a Certified Sandals Specialist, I've been a guest at Sandals, and can tell you it's one of my favorite vacation spots. My husband and I have stayed at several Sandals resorts, always having a great time, and look forward to experiencing it again and again.

Down at the bottom, you'll find a link to the Sandals website, which will give you more in-depth information regarding each specific resort; the accommodations, the restaurants, watersports, etc...but right now, I'd like to give you some personal experience....

Why choose a Sandals resort? Well, there are many reasons; I'll touch on a few:

All-Inclusive. You may have heard this term before, but what does it really mean? Some resorts claim to be all-inclusive, but they're really not. They have hidden charges that come as a nasty surprise later. Not so with Sandals! A Sandals vacation truly is all-inclusive - simply put -- you pay one price up front, and that's it! Your accommodations, food, entertainment, water sports, cocktails (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) are included. My favorite example to give my clients is that when my husband and I stayed at Ocho Rios, we spent $22 for our week's stay -- that was for some rum and a watercolor picture. (and that's some excellent rum for $8 a bottle by the way)!

The benefits to you are easy to recognize - you don't have to worry about budgeting your vacation funds, trying to figure out how much you're going to spend on all those "extras"; like food, entertainment, snorkeling, etc. This is a great value, especially when you're planning a honeymoon. Planning a wedding can be stressful enough, and then you're trying to figure out how much money to allot for your dream honeymoon; this takes all the guess work out of your planning.

The Staff. The heart and soul of every vacation experience is the staff. I started out as a cruise-only travel agent, and I know from first-hand experience that you can have an older cruise ship vs. a newer one, and the thing that will make your vacation memorable is the crew. These are the people that you deal with daily, and they can make or break your vacation. The staff at a Sandals resort will make you want to put them in your luggage and take them home with you!

Couples-only vs. Everyone. Sometimes you just want to party! WOO HOO - if that's the case, you want the "Beaches" division of Sandals, but for romance (and partying too, but with other couples), you can't beat a Sandals vacation! It's much the same if you're out with your "significant other" or if you're out in a group -- you're going to have a completely different experience. Going to a couples-only resort is very different than other resorts you may have been to - someone's getting married at the resort every day! You meet other couples, you get to tell your own romantic story of how you met, when you got married (and in some cases it was YESTERDAY) and it's just a very different experience than going to a "regular" resort.

Melodie Kennedy & Hubby Kennedy
Melodie & Sam Kennedy

Speciality Restaurants. Many of the resorts that say they're all inclusive have one restaurant, with a buffet set up on a steam table - YUCK. At a Sandals resort you have at least four different restaurants where you order from a menu, not pick up limp lettuce off the buffet! (some Sandals resorts have more than four restaurants) You can experience all kinds of cuisine, being served by attentive waiters and enjoy a different dining experience each night.

For you "not so newlyweds" or for those romatics at heart, here's a picture of my husband Sam and I in July, when we renewed our vows at Sandals Royal Bahamian...